Ocado Technology has unveiled AI:MMO, an educational platform designed to help secondary school students worldwide study algorithm design and smart optimisation strategies while playing a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game. AI:MMO is part of Code for Life, a non-profit initiative that delivers free, open source games and teaching materials that help students learn computing.
The rapidly growing demand for specialist computer science and engineering-related skills is reflected in recent research published by EngineeringUK. According to the study, published in March 2018, the big data and AI-related sector is forecast to contribute £241 billion to UK GDP by 2020 and create 157,000 new jobs. In addition, annual demand for people with core engineering skills stands at 124,000 a year, with an additional 79,000 workers needed each year in related roles. Based on the current supply of talent coming through the education pipeline, the annual shortfall is forecast at up to 59,000 technologists and engineers per year.
In order to help educators get students interested in computer science, AI:MMO includes free and comprehensive teaching resources targeted at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 students. The resources are aligned to the England, Wales and Northern Ireland Computing Curriculum launched in 2013, and have been developed in collaboration with experienced secondary computing teachers from the UK.
Paul Clarke, Chief Technology Officer at Ocado, said: “Artificial intelligence is a transformative technology that has the potential to completely reshape entire industries. As such, substantially more needs to be done to achieve a paradigm shift in the quality and quantity of STEM students, graduates and professionals over the long-term.
“We also need to prepare the next generation for living in a world populated by smart machines, digital assistants and robots. Coding and data literacy are therefore becoming essential skills, not just for those who may go on to become computer scientists, but for everyone. With Code for Life, we are making modern coding techniques accessible to hundreds of thousands of students in the UK and worldwide, while giving teachers free and easy to use tools to weave digital literacy into the educational curriculum.”
If you’re a secondary school teacher or a computer science enthusiast, pre-register at https://www.codeforlife.education/teach/ to get information and access the free resource from September 1st, 2018.
For more information, please visit https://ocadoengineering.com/the-year-of-engineering/